Arthur Hughes, Sean Bean star in Disney+ Tudor mystery Shardlake

Arthur Hughes, Sean Bean star in Disney+ Tudor mystery Shardlake

By Michael Pickard
February 9, 2024

First Look

FIRST LOOK: Disney+ has released new images and the trailer for its upcoming Tudor murder mystery Shardlake.

Arthur Hughes (Then Barbara Met Alan) stars as Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer with an acute sense of justice and one of the few honest men in a world beset with scheming and plots.

He works for Thomas Cromwell (Time’s Sean Bean), the dangerous and all-powerful right-hand man to Henry VIII. Despite Shardlake’s unwavering loyalty to Cromwell and the Crown, his position in society is unfavoured due to his appearance, as a person living with scoliosis during the Tudor period, suffering the indignity of being abused as a “crookback” wherever he turns.

Based on the first novel in CJ Sansom’s novel series, the four-parter is described as an eerie whodunnit adventure, set in 16th century England during the dissolution of the monasteries. Shardlake’s sheltered life as a lawyer is turned upside down when Cromwell instructs him to investigate the murder of one of his commissioners at a monastery in the remote town of Scarnsea.

The commissioner was gathering evidence to close the monastery and it is now imperative for Cromwell’s own political survival that Shardlake both solves the murder and closes the monastery. He leaves Shardlake in no doubt that failure is not an option. Cromwell insists that he is accompanied by Jack Barak to Scarnsea, where the duo are met with hostility, suspicion and paranoia by the monks who fear for their future and will seemingly stop at nothing to preserve their order.

Anthony Boyle (Masters of the Air) plays the cocky and good-looking Jack Barak, who leaves Shardlake unsure of whether he is an assistant, or Cromwell’s spy. Additional cast include Babou Ceesay as Abbot Fabian, Paul Kaye as Brother Jerome, Ruby Ashbourne Serkis as Alice, Peter Firth as Norfolk, Matthew Steer as Goodhap, Brian Vernel as Brother Mortimus, Irfan Shamji as Brother Guy, David Pearse as Brother Edwig, Miles Barrow as Brother Gabriel, Mike Noble as Bugge and Kimberley Nixon as Joan.

Shardlake is written by Stephen Butchard (The Good Mothers). The series is executive produced by George Ormond and Mark Pybus for The Forge and Stevie Lee for Runaway Fridge. Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) has directed the series with John Griffin as producer.

The series is coming soon to Disney+.

Here’s the trailer:

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